Americans Consume 15.5 Hours Of Media Per Day By 2015: Report
November 8, 2013

Americans Consume 15.5 Hours Of Media Per Day By 2015: Report

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Americans are expected to consume 15.5 hours per day of media on mobile devices and at home by 2015, according to a new report by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Southern California.

That volume of content is roughly equivalent to seven million-million gigabytes of information, or a daily consumption of nine DVDs worth of data per person per day.

The report, entitled “How Much Media? 2013 Report on American Consumers,” focuses on media consumed in and out of the home, excluding workplace media, between 2008 and 2015. Media is defined according to 30 categories such as television, social media, computer gaming and other types of material. Information reported in the study was canvassed from several hundred data sources, including media measurement firms such as Nielsen, Arbitron, ComScore, investor and analyst firms, government sources, and foundation and research publications.

Study leader James Short, lead scientist for SDSC’s Center for Large-Scale Data Systems Research (CLDS), emphasized that media delivered is not a measure of attention or comprehension of that media.

“One can actually have more than 24 hours in a media day,” said Short, a visiting researcher at the Institute for Communications Technology Management (CTM) at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

“As we increase the number of simultaneous media streams going into the home, and increase our multi-tasking behaviors, a lot of content assumes the role of background or secondary content streams.”

“And as we increase our level of multi-tasking, we have to expect that total hours will grow even as the total number of physical hours a viewer can consume media will remain roughly constant. Moreover, this increasing level of multi-tasking is creating competition between media streams to be the dominant stream at any one time.”

While such a high rate of multiple-stream media traffic sounds overwhelming, there is little worry that people will suffer from sensory overload, Short said.

“While machines can always overload us, it’s more a question of, how can we design these systems to produce meaningful value? That’s the critical challenge as we speed further into the age of digitally-based information.”

Key findings of the report include:

* Total US media consumption reached 3.5 zettabytes in 2008, averaging 33 gigabytes per consumer per day. By 2012, this figure had grown to 6.9 zettabytes, averaging 63 gigabytes per person per day. Put another way, if 6.9 zettabytes of text was printed in books stacked as closely as possible across the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, the pile would be almost 14 feet high, Short said.

* In 2008, Americans talked, viewed, and listened to media, excluding the workplace, for 1.3 trillion hours, averaging 11 hours per person per day. By 2012, total consumption had grown to 1.46 trillion hours, or 13.6 hours per person per day on average, representing a year over year growth rate of 5 percent.

The report also provides forward-looking projections of US media consumption over the next few years, estimating that Americans will consume more than 1.7 trillion hours of media, or 8.75 zettabytes of data, by 2015. This is equivalent to 15.5 hours per person per day, on average, Short said.

Mobile messaging hours, which in 2012 accounted for approximately nine percent of voice call hours, is expected to double to more than 18 percent of voice hours, a year-over-year growth rate of more than 27 percent, according to the report.

Internet video consumption, which averaged less than three hours per month in 2008, had grown to nearly six hours per month by 2012, a year-over-year growth rate of 21 percent. By 2015, these figures will rise to 11 hours per month, a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent a year, the report noted.

From 2008 to 2015, the total annual hours spent on Facebook and YouTube are expected to grow from 6.3 billion to 35.2 billion, a year-over-year growth rate of 28 percent.

The report concludes that, while the overall supply of media is driven by rapidly advancing device capacities and faster networks, growth in consumptive time will continue to grow only slowly, but steadily, due to practical and human constraints, such as the length of a day. These restrictions ensure that consumptive time growth never exceeds a few percentage points per year.